Author Archives: Dennis

Long Days

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of long days at work, trying to get different things done on time. I’ve been doing an average of about 55 to 60 hours a week, which equates to about 11 or 12 hours a day, not counting lunch and travel. Including that, I’m busy with work about 14 hours a day, giver or take. Seeing as how I’d like to sleep about 7 hours, that leaves me with a grand total of three hours of relaxation time each weekday. If I didn’t have a social life to upkeep, where I spend time with friends, family, and my girlfriend, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. If I didn’t have all these small projects that I want to spend time on, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. If I didn’t strive towards doing some physical excercise, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

And that’s where the trouble lies the most; On a good week, I spend about four and a half hours doing Kung Fu (90 minutes on Wednesday evening, and 90 minutes on Friday evening, and 90 minutes on Saturday morning), but Wednesdays is usually right out, and by the time it’s Friday, I just don’t feel I have enough energy to really go all out. Saturdays I mostly teach young children; two groups, one aged 5 to 9, and one aged 10 to 15. It’s strenuous, but it’s not the same as excercising for your own benefit.

Honestly, I don’t know if I could handle the responsibility of children with such a busy schedule. I’m going to see if I can cut some corners somewhere. Hopefully moving into the city will save me the daily 90 minutes of public transport hassle.

Art

I may post this rant on Bulldrek, or on my own forums, but for now, I just want to rant. Nobody to argue with, just ranting. Just pure, unadulterated rantation. Me, being of sound rantage, and my journal, being my Medium du Rant.

I want to talk about art, or rather, about a recurring discussion I have with Moulsari about art. She’s an artist, you see, and she knows a lot of stuff about other artists, their work, and the meaning of art. But there is one thing we vehemently disagree on; I say art has a function as a carrier of information. She says that art isn’t always about information and that art, sometimes, is just something pretty to look at. Actually, I’m not doing her stance much justice in the way I’ve worded it, but let me just say that she makes a strong case.

From the very first pieces of human art, to the latest, greatest, true modern art, it has always carried a message. Carried information. Pictures speak, which is why cavemen started doodling on the walls of their caves. Wooden figurines, icons and statues were widdled from pieces of wood, and patterns were drawn in sand. This was all done with a purpose, and in every inception of art, of creation, there is purpose. Sometimes the purpose is subtle, sometimes even so subbtle that nobody except the creator understands the message. To be quite honest, I seriously dislike the idea of creating something that nobody understands. Sure, subtlety is nice, elitism can be understood, but something that nobody understands is…well, odd. I mean, sure, certain artists might use their art as a medium to express their troubled minds, inadvertedly leaving everyone baffled and confused, but their expression is like reaching out…they’re trying to communicate to the world. Sometimes they make something that is so deeply personal that they won’t share it with the world, and they keep it to themselves, as a reminder perhaps. In these cases, they express themselves and decide not to share it. Like not sharing a thought, for instance.

But when you do share something, make sure that the person you’re trying to reach understands what you are trying to say. There is no point in sharing if the other doesn’t understand. You might as well have said nothing.

Some people think that art is about pretty things. It’s not. Nine out of ten pieces of art are, aesthetically, really ugly. They usually give an impression of something. They convey information about a forgotten era, about the personality of society, or they give an impression about the state of mind the artists were in. But art is never just pretty. It’s always more than just fucking pretty, it’s about information, and the transfer thereof. The sharing of knowledge and wisdom.

Now we get to the discussion Mouls and I often have. She will often show me websites that she considers artistic, creative or impressive. Usually, I end up saying that those pages are about form, not function, and that the function of a webpage – and the function of art – is to convey information. Especially webpages are about information, sharing information. The whole medium was born from information, as were all other media, including art! It’s all about sharing knowledge and wisdom, and if you create a webpage that is just nice to look at, and has no function other than being beautiful, having shit navigation, an incomprehensible theme, or something else “artistically trendy,” then it’s dead. It’s nothing. You’ve created thin air that anyone will be tired of in mere seconds.

The Internet is about information. It’s a medium to pass on information from one computer to the next, and from your computer to your senses, and from your senses into your brain. Art is about information. It’s a medium to pass on information. Art is not about beauty, it’s about truth!

Work
So, today I’ll finish my first project at this company, with only a week and a half over the deadline, and present the code to the director of the company, who is in charge of all quality assurance. I’ll present the result to the clients in a couple of days.

Start Rant
Software development is becoming more and more fun for me. I am getting to more and more proficient in structured thinking and streamlining my own code. The thing that bothers me greatly is working with other people’s code, because for some reason it never really fits in my view of how things should’ve been done.

When I first started working at the company I work at now, I was confronted with a fact; I will work, and expand upon other people’s code. The program I work on is 9 years old. Nine! That’s practically ancient in terms of software solutions. Since it’s inception, it has been added and expanded upon, and – due to lack of time – the foundation hasn’t been updated often enough.

The spawning of methods, procedures, functions, classes and just rogue code is enormous, and my minimalistic side is just screaming to halt development for a year and simply streamline the code that we already have, structuring the foundation, expanding the foundation, and getting rid of this melon-headed program. It’s so top heavy due to ‘duct-tape’ development that a lot of the code just feels…wobbly. Like it might collapse at any moment.

On one hand, I’m lucky, since my director, and prime developer, agrees with me. But on the other hand, it’s just not economically viable to either start over and redo some, if not all, of this program in a .NET environment. Jesus, this program could be so much more stable if we moved the core computing from C++ to C# and just went over to Sql Server instead of also supporting a fucking FoxPro database!!!

I will need to start thinking of some ideas in order to utilise other environments than FoxPro, which is what I use mainly now. It’s ass. It’s a complete load of wank. Sadly, it’s fast, and easy to use, and the two other developers on the team beside the director don’t seem to want to change to a more stable environment.

What I wouldn’t give to start this program in a .NET environment.
End Rant

Relationships
Anyway, apart from that things are going really well. Or, at least, things are picking up from a couple of weeks ago where I definitely hit rock bottom with Moulsari. Those were some intensely rough weeks in which I took my frustrations out on those around me. So, Eva, Sam, Dennis, Richard, Wai, Mom, Dad, whoever…I apologise.

I guess it’s only natural if you want to achieve what Mouls and I are trying to achieve. To stay focussed on eachother, and give eachother the impression that it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be together is hard. I’m always reminded by what Thorn said some time ago on Bulldrek: A relationship is hard work. And I can only assume that when you’re in a long distance relationship, and you have to wait another year and a half to even think about being together, and only sporadically seeing eachother in the flesh in the mean time, it’ll be even harder.

Luckily, I have some good examples of how it can work. Marco en Clarissa, Eva and Earl, Adam and Sam…all of them are, or were in the same boat as I am. If they can do it, so can we. It requires some determination and dedication – which, I have to admit, sometimes I lack because of my laid back stance towards this relationship. I am in no rush, since it will be a year and a half still. And I feel no need to rush things, or pretend like this is a normal relationship, in which you talk to eachother everyday, because it isn’t a normal relationship, in which you talk everyday.

Anyway, needless to say, when you’re in a relationship closeness is important, even if it’s simulated closeness. And when one, or the other is going through a rough patch in their lives, you are supposed to be there, and that means sacrifices. I have to learn that.

Ex-Girlfriends
For some reason, ex-girlfriends are playing a big role in my life. Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve got a really good relationship with Eva. She’s a really good, valued friend, something that is rather rare, nowadays. When people break up they are much rather angry at their ex-partner than sad at the loss of their friend. I understand that; anger is a much easier emotion to deal with than sadness.

A couple of weeks ago, I bumped into Kim, the girlfriend I had before Eva. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, and one day, she just walked into my Kung Fu school. It has been really good to see her again. She’s grown, and so have I, and it’s fun to see what has become of someone you shared intimacy with for so long. We’ve been out to dinner, out to drinks – and she has frequently brought an old class-mate of mine with her, whom I hadn’t talked to in 8 years either. It’s been really cool seeing him, too – and we’ve just been really friendly again. She’s so unlike me, and it’s fun to have someone around that has a different perspective than most other friends.

Incompetence
Dealing with another’s incompetence on a daily basis is really frustrating. Really, really frustrating. *frust* Damn, just thinking about it is sucking all my will to live. Perhaps I’ll bitch about that later.